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Incinerator plan 'would breach law', report says

A campaign group and council are locked in a war of words over claims that the case for an incinerator is unsound.

Pressure group Glosvain is opposed to plans for the Javelin Park incinerator, near Gloucester, which Gloucestershire County Council’s intends to develop with Urbaser Balfour Beatty.

Glosvain commissioned Rebecca Colley-Jones, of consultant Ynys Resources, who is also chair of the Chartered Institution of Waste Management in Wales, to carry out an independent investigation of the council’s case.

She concluded that the incinerator would not comply with EU and UK law, that the council had seriously over-estimated future waste requirements and that the economic case for the installation had collapsed following the end of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).

Colley-Jones said the proposed incinerator would be so inefficient that it must be classified not as recovery but disposal, at the bottom of the waste hierarchy.

Glosvain said councils were legally obliged to move waste up the hierarchy but the Gloucestershire planned to “spend half a billion pounds to keep our waste at the bottom of the waste hierarchy for 25 years or more”.

It said the incinerator would burn unsorted commercial and industrial waste, including considerable quantities that could be recycled.

“Not only is this wrong, it is in contravention of EU law, which requires this waste to be pre-treated,” the group said following the report. “Through the burning process, the incinerator would create around eight times more hazardous waste than that which goes into the plant, and will dispose of this hazardous waste to landfill. This is again in breach of the Waste Hierarchy and EU and UK law.”

But the council cast doubt on the report’s integrity and conclusions.

Neither Glosvain nor Colley-Jones had contacted the council to check facts, it said.

A Gloucestershire council statement said it was “simply not true” that the incinerator would breach EU law, adding that its waste plans had been judged ‘sound’ by a planning inspector.

The council also denied that its economic justification was based on an assumption of LATS continuing.

Stan Waddington, the Gloucestershire cabinet member responsible for the project, said: “The bottom line is that this report is fundamentally flawed and full of misinterpretations and inaccuracies.

“It’s being labelled independent, but we have to be clear that it has been paid for by a campaign group which has made no secret of the fact that it is completely opposed to the plans.

“The fact that neither the campaign group nor the report’s authors contacted the council to ask any questions or check any facts is extremely suspicious.”

  • The Environment Agency is to open a second round of consultation on 20 February on an environmental permit application for Javelin Park. It will run until 12 April. Agency environment manager Stuart Baker said: “Before we make a final decision, we wanted to give all interested parties an opportunity to discuss any queries or concerns they may have with us face to face.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Let me be clear, I am not a member of Glosvain, but I can see they have a VERY strong case.
    Little wonder that Glosvain have not "checked their facts" with "Waste Champion" Stan Waddington and his cronies at Gloucester County Council, since this body has ruthlessly stuck to a policy of giving out the minimum of real information, always at the last moment, and, I note, heavily "spun" with a large amount of money (spent by Gloucester's "preferred contractors" on PR companies to "sweeten the bitter pill" in a so-called "Consultation Process. This farce was royally kicked out by the public, but still Waddington and his friends have pressed ahead, certain that they are right, that nobody can successfully stand in their way, and that sufficient bravado (and ignoring some extremely nasty facts) will see them through, with powerful people in political roles rubber-stamping the process at critical stages.
    There would be little point in Glosvain consulting with the Council, since GCC have done everything in in their power (to the extreme limit of the law in my view) to force this decision through against massive public disapproval.
    If, by some travesty of injustice, this lunatic and incredibly expensive air polluting scheme is nodded through, generations of Gloucester children yet unborn will be breathing its toxic smoke output, as it burns 190,000 tons of mixed rubbish each year, operating 24 hours a day.
    The GCC and Contractors' case is that it cannot be proven that the emissions from this outrageous plant are dangerous to health, and therefore, since allegedly it technically breaches no EU air pollution regulations, they say it should proceed.
    The reality is that our childrens' health merits standard infinitely higher than have been applied by this motley crew of profit-hungry businessmen and inordinately powerful officials.
    PR companies and fast-talking hired "experts" on EU regulations are not enough, neither is the blatantly obvious fact that the business case for this huge waste burner is utterly faulted. For officials to attempt to push through such a monstrous long-term commitment to appalling waste of public money is beyond deplorable.
    There is a serious case to answer, and Gloucester County Council, Urbaser and Balfour Beatty now clearly have a mutual financial interest (backed by severe penalty clauses if the project is struck down) in getting this ridiculous ediifice built.
    How far is Councillor Waddington prepared to go before he will be forced to listen to the voice of the people ? To me he seems utterly incapable of listening to anything other than the sound of his own voice. Our children most certainly deserve far better !

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